Thursday, December 6, 2012

Analyzing Scope Creep

The first step toward a successful project is to develop a plan that allows the project team to do the work required to produce the desired results in the available time for the available resources (Portny et al., 2008). 


     In high school and well into college I worked as a floral designer.  Floral designing has become one of my passions and I now work as a floral designer doing weddings when I can.  Floral arrangements for weddings can be a very big project depending on the size of the wedding.  I have to work with the stakeholders (bride and family), and wholesalers to order flowers and supplies. In order to control scope creep I have the bride and family members who are paying for the flowers sign an agreement after reviewing the project with them.  Scope creep is the natural tendency of the client, as well as project team member, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses (Portny et al., 2008).  Another way that I try to control scope creep is by meeting with the bride a few days before the wedding to go over all of the arrangements and flowers involved in the wedding.  I not only can have scope creep from the stakeholders but also from the suppliers.  I have to call ahead to the wholesalers and make sure they are carrying the flowers that the bride is asking for.  If the wholesalers are not carrying the flowers then I need to work with the stakeholders to figure out what other options would work for them.  I believe there are many risks involved when taking on this type of project.  
      A project like this can be difficult because I am the project manager, SME, and the designer therefore, I have to make sure that I schedule my time appropriately, use a change of scope document signed by the stakeholders, and have open and clear communication.  I also make sure to review the time line, analyze the task list, identify the start date for the task, and be flexible (Stolovich, n.d.).    


Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Stolovich, H. 2009. Creating a Project Schedule. (Video Presentation) Laureate Education Inc.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

To prepare for this assignment, I conducted a web search on estimating the costs, effort, and/or activity duration associated with ID projects.  Accurate cost estimates help you complete a project on-budget.  Before you can perform cost estimation you need to have completed the following processes: Define Scope, Create WBS, Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, and Estimate Activity Duration (Sharma, 2009).

Project Cost Estimating Tools & Techniques
This site offers some tools and techniques for project managers developing a project.  The site takes the project manager through the Project Management Life Cycle.  The Project Cost Estimating Tools and Techniques tab lists tools and techniques that are used by project managers to plan cost estimates.  I liked this site because it offers project management templates and has many other links to help a project manager move easily through developing a project.
Project Management Skills. (2012). Project cost estimating tools & techniques. Retrieved from  

Bright Hub PM
This website begins by introducing the reader to the cycle of a project.  It then introduces cost estimating techniques that are commonly used in projects.  The website has an explanation for each technique.  Bright Hub also offers a number of links to aid in the process different process that.  I have used this site to help me with my charts and understand the different parts of the processes that we have already completed.   
Sharma., R. (2009). Tools used to estimate costs in project management. Retrieved from

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Communicating Effectively

In this week’s assignment we were asked to view the multimedia program “The Art of Effective Communication”.  In this program we observed a piece of communication in three different modalities: written text (email), audio (voicemail), and video (face-to-face).  After each modality we were asked to take notes on how we interpret the message. 
How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

 Jane sent an email to Mark expressing her concerns about the missing report.  She needed Mark’s part of the report to conclude her part of the project.  Jane’s email was clear and straight to the point.  Stolovich (n.d.) stated that communication should be clear, concise, and focused.  This helps everyone stay on target.  Although Jane was clear in her email I also felt the email was a little pushy.  I felt that Jane was concerned about how Mark was doing but also concerned about the work at hand.  In my opinion it is very had to tell how urgent a situation is through email. I believe that email is really for less urgent messages.

When I heard Jane’s voice I felt that the message changed for me.  The message became a little more personable.  In a voicemail the listener generally tries to understand and remember the message the first time through.  Tone of voice and language yield clues about relative importance and urgency (Gradous, n.d.).  My interpretation of the massage changed from email to voicemail because I was able to hear her voice and that helped me to understand how concerned she was about receiving the information she need to finish her part. 

Above all I felt that this modality was the best.  In order to get an effective delivery I feel that face-to-face is the best way.  It is especially best when the information that needs to be communicated is urgent.  Stolovich (n.d.) stated that effective communication is influenced by:
-          - Spirit and attitude
-          - Tonality and body language
-          - Timing
-          - Personality of the recipient
Jane’s spirit, attitude, tonality, and body language was very good.  The video showed that Jane was not mad but concerned about what was going on with the report.           

Having effective communication amongst team members is very important.  It makes the team feel that they can trust and help each other.  In this exercise I felt the best modality for communication was face-to-face. However, when face-to-face is not an option it is very important to make sure that an email and or a voice mail is delivered professionally and with a clear purpose. 


Gradous, Deane., (n.d.). Chart of comparisons. Retrieved from
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E.
     (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects.
     Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Stolovitch, H. (n.d.). Communication with stakeholders. [Video Media]. Laureate
     Education, Inc.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Confusing Common Core Curriculum!!

I have to be honest, I have never really been involved in a project other than the small one’s that I embark on with my wonderful second grade students.  However, this year there has been a big change in the curriculum program in my state along with many other states in the United States.  We have currently switched to the Common Core Curriculum (CC).  There can be one or more projects within a program to accomplish specific results that are related to the programs goals (Portny et al., 2008).  This has been a big project/program change not just for me but for many teachers in my district.   

At the end of 2011-2012 school the K-3 teachers were introduced to the CC.  We were handed a Common Core Curriculum Map book and trained for two days. The CC Curriculum Map is a guide for us to follow when planning.  We were then asked to go back to our schools and work with our teams to map out the first six weeks of school for the following year. At this point I have to admit that we were all very confused and wondered how we were going to take on this big change.  At my school specifically we created an assessment map.  We use the assessment map to help us connect the standards to the activities that we plan for our classes and to help keep us on track and when to give our formative and summative assessments. It also helps my team and I stay on track with each other. At our first meeting my team and I decided to dive head first into the CC Curriculum Map and plan out our first six weeks using our assessments maps.   I really felt like this did not go well, even though we had the academic coach supporting us and trying to help, I still felt really confused about where our kids were going with the CC or for that matter where we the teachers were going with it.      

A week before the 2012-2013 school year started, my team and I were able to sit down and rework our assessment maps.  In doing so we were really trying to use the CC Curriculum Map for our lessons.  However, when we started teaching from our assessment map using the lessons planned out in the CC Curriculum Map lessons started to fall apart.  I have to be honest; I felt like I had forgotten how to teach.  So we went back to the drawing board.  We were able to link the Common Core State Standards to the lessons that we know how to teach and integrate science and social studies into our lessons.  Now we create our assessment maps using the standards that are mapped out for the six week unit according to the CC Curriculum Map to help us stay on track.  This program will be on going.  Next year grades 4-6 will be picking up the Common Core Curriculum.  It has been a big change for all of us!!
The most frustrating part about the program was that there was not enough training available and the basic operations were not clear.  I believe that the project/program would have started out successful if we had a clear understanding of the CC Curriculum, the programs plans and the resources we needed available to us on time.  Most of the resources were given to us a few weeks after school started.          


Portny, E., Mantel,J., Meredith, R., Shafer, M., Sutton M., & Kramer, E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


 Distance education dates back to the 1800’s with roots going as far back as 160 years. Distance learning has changed from correspondence courses, to educational radio, one and two-way teleconferencing, educational television, video conferencing, and to computer assisted/Web-based interactive learning opportunities (Kaufman & Watkins, 200). Certainly, distance education has experienced growth and change recently, but the long traditions of the field continue to give it direction for the future (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek 2012). 

 What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

 I believe that distance education will continue to grow since it is in high demand.  Teachers will continue to use technology to enhance learning beyond their traditional classrooms.  Recently, a number of advances have been made in the study of learning and teaching that are providing educators with strategies for improving the education experience (Simonson, et al., 2012).  In this course I learned about the three models of distance learning.  These models are web-facilitated courses, hybrid/blended courses, and online courses.  Each model differs in the percentage of how much of the course is taught online.  I believe that there will be and has been a push for more hybrid courses where teachers are using technology to go beyond the traditional classroom.  However, I do not believe that traditional face-to-face courses will ever be obsolete. Distance learning is a way to communicate with diverse and global groups and learners are beginning to have a growing since of comfort.  Distance learning is also benefitting corporations by allowing them to integrate with different offices around the world (Siemens, 2012).  In the next 20 years I see distance learning as being part of many classrooms around the world.  While technology is rapidly changing I believe the modules to distance learning are evolving as well.  I believe there will be more technology tools offered along with the forever changing technology.   Our lives are getting busier and busier and with that distance education is gaining in popularity.  In the future I see more courses being offered in distance education to a greater array of learners.   

 How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

 As an instructional designer and a proponent for improving societal perception of distance learning, I must make sure that I am staying current with technology.  I must make sure that I am also learning the new technology tools and new ways of offering courses.  I must have the research to back up my data, and for implementing the different modules required for distance education.    

 How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

I will be a positive force for continuous improvements in the field of distance education by understanding my learners, the attributes of a successful distance learner and by understanding the foundations of distance education.   I feel that I have gained a great deal of knowledge about distance learning.  I look forward to designing educational experiences to meet the needs of many different learners. 




Kaufman, R., Watkins, R. (2000). Assuring the future for distance learning. Retrieved from


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.